Centralia: Get to know your friendly Ghost Town
Centralia was a logging community located just south of Centralia Rd. and west of US 19. Neither of these roads existed when Edgar Roberts moved his saw mill to Centralia from Coleman, FL forming the Central Cypress Lumber Company in 1910. Before that the same mill was located in Donna, LA. The mill went into production in 1911 with it’s remarkable double band saw which was able to cut a hundred thousand board feet a day. The image above was taken from Centralia’s water tower looking south west. Let us examine some of the structures in the photo:
- This is the lathe and shingle mill which is under construction in the photo
- Rear of the 2 story saw mill
- Drying area- after the logs were milled they were stored in stacks here
- Oak Grove, the community where the white mill workers lived
- Narrow gauge railroad that was used to transport logs from cutting site to float pond. Several men pushed rail carts by hand throughout the logging areas.
An aerial photo of Centralia was taken in 1943: The blade itself was 1 foot wide. The wheels were about 9-10 feet in diameter. Every evening the blade would be sharpened. Here is a mill operator sharpening the blade at the Centralia mill: An image of a similar bandsaw of the same era from Laguna Beach, CA, gives an idea of what the Centralia saw would have looked like erected: 9′ Band Saw The base of the saw still exists at the Centralia site. (image) Today, the mill itself is gone but the bases of it’s support pillars still exist. Here are some images of the exterior of the mill: It was the policy of the Central Cypress Lumber Co. to waste no lumber. In addition to the saw mill, a mill for producing lathe and shingles was built as seen under construction in the aerial photo. Here is an advertisement in the St. Pete Times Dec. 1, 1911 for shingles and lathe: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=888&dat=19111201&id=5P5OAAAAIBAJ&sjid=skwDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2199,4635103